This article was originally published on Humorality, on September 13, 2010.
You’ll Find Them in the Last Place you Click
At a press conference held in front of a T. J. Maxx store in San Jose, California, Google announced today a new search tool for lost car keys. The service, an extension of its online query business, joins a large cadre of specialized search engines that find everything from the square root of 42 to undisclosed vice-presidential locations.
“This new tool is more than just a glorified key chain,” said Sergey Brin, Technology President for the prominent dot-com business. “It will let you pinpoint the location of any key for your home, car, or company with the click of a button.” The technology works from the main Google home page through the new “I’m Feeling Locked Out” button.
To locate a set of lost keys, Car Key Search Beta needs nothing more than a picture of one of the missing keys. “And for most North American customers, there’s a good chance that we already have that picture on file,” said Deborah del Gato, the lead programmer for the new feature. With this starter image, Google uses its combined collection of Street View and Inside Your House View libraries to digitally scan for the missing item. “Within seconds,” continued del Gato, “your keys will be in hand, and a friendly Google delivery professional will drop by with a page of relevant advertisements. It couldn’t be easier.”
Despite such promises, the software is still considered “beta,” and will remain that way for Google’s traditional three-year test phase. “You might end up finding someone else’s keys,” said Brin. Yet despite some initial hiccups, the company expects to expand the feature over the next few months, “letting web site visitors search for wallets, prescription bottles, campaign promises, or any other small items that are easily lost.”